Colour-Challenged

One of the most rewarding parts of any design project (for me, anyway!) is pulling together new and existing items to create a whole new scheme.  Rarely do I have the challenge of starting with a blank slate.  Most of my clients have some existing pieces to work around, or we have to coordinate with adjoining rooms in the their home, so we can’t create something so new and different that it doesn’t blend with the existing decor.  While you might think that a decorator prefers to start with an empty room and a full bank account (okay, that’s fun too!), I actually find it more interesting to infuse my clients’ homes with their personality by reusing some of their existing furnishings or accents.  Or so I thought until it came time to design my new living room….

While my new kitchen will be a neutral sea of gray and white, with bits of contrast in the form of natural woods and bronze accent lighting, I really do love colour.  I’m just not a neutral person — not in personality or in decorating. So my challenge with this renovation is how to blend my new kitchen scheme with my more colourful existing living and dining room furnishings and art.   The new kitchen will be more open to the main living area after we renovate, so it’s imperative that they flow together nicely.

Our new maple cupboards will be 'graphite', the oak floor has a gray wash, our countertops are white quartz with a subtle gray vein, and the mosaic backsplash combines glass tiles with slate.  I'm counting on that slate to have a lot more rust than is visible in this sample!

Our new maple cupboards will be ‘graphite’, the oak floor has a gray wash, our countertops are white quartz with a subtle gray vein, and the mosaic backsplash combines glass tiles with slate. I’m counting on that slate to have a lot more rust than is visible in this sample!

We actually have a very warm scheme in the living room at the moment, but we’re ready to brighten and lighten it.

Our existing sofa combines the original navy leaf fabric on the body with new-last-year solid colour cushions. The wing chair combines navy and green with rusts and burgandy. The leather ottoman is burgandy.  How to make these work with the new neutrals?

Our existing sofa combines the original navy leaf fabric on the body with new-last-year solid colour cushions. The wing chair combines navy and green with rusts and burgandy. The leather ottoman is burgandy. How to make these work with the new neutrals?

Unfortunately, given the expansion of this project’s scope, there will be little or no budget left for decorating, after the kitchen and exterior projects are complete.  If all goes well, and there are no unexpected and costly problems (yeah, right!), I may be able to give our living room a face lift.   I have decided that I can work with the wing chair and the ottoman;  they are in great shape.   The sofa could work if I change the old leaf fabric to something that brings in more of the reds/rusts/oranges.  I definitely need to find a drapery fabric that pulls old and new together.  Being the eternal optimist, I have been searching for those magical fabrics that will bring together my old furnishings with the new kitchen.

This is the magical fabric that could work magic in my living room, and make all my existing furniture look like they belong with the new kitchen.

This is the magical fabric that could  make all my existing furniture look like they belong with the new kitchen.  It’s called Sashiko from Kravet.  Note the caramel and navy, with touches of orange and gold, all on a light background.  It’s too light-weight for upholstery, so it’s destined to become drapery.

Here's the magical Sashiko with my existing sofa cushion, plus a multi-coloured weave that could replace the old navy leaf fabric on the sofa body.  I think this nubby fabric is the way to pull out the brighter reds and oranges that I love for accents, and still work with my burgandy ottoman.

Here’s the magical Sashiko with my existing sofa cushion, plus a multi-coloured weave that could replace the old navy leaf fabric on the sofa body. I think this nubby fabric is the way to pull out the brighter reds and oranges that I love for accents, and still work with my burgandy ottoman.

 

Here's the lovely Sashiko with a lively outdoor stripe from Maxwell, called Lap Pool.  I think this stripe is perfect for my wicker accent chair, and because it sits in the sunny window, I like that it won't fade.

Here’s the lovely Sashiko with a lively outdoor stripe from Maxwell, called Lap Pool. I think this stripe is perfect for my wicker accent chair, and because it sits in the sunny window, I like that it won’t fade.

 

Sashiko gets along very well with this wool carpet from Cortenaer, and she allows me to bind the new rug with any one of a range of colours from orange to red to burgandy.  This should bring the ottoman nicely into the mix.

Sashiko gets along very well with this wool carpet from Cortenaer, and she allows me to bind the new rug with any one of a range of colours from orange to red to burgandy. This should bring the ottoman nicely into the mix.

Here's the whole collection, with sofa cushion in the mix.  I think I can make this work!

Here’s the whole collection, with sofa cushion in the mix. I think I can make this work!

 

 

 

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